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Michael Jackson fans line up at Disneyland for return of 'Captain EO'

February 23, 2010 |  8:49 am

Captain EO starring Michael Jackson thrilled Disneyland visitors from 1986 to 1997. The 3-D production reopens Tuesday at the theme park. Credit: Disneyland Resort Fans decked out in futuristic garb formed a line early Tuesday to see the return of the Michael Jackson film "Captain EO" to Disneyland after a 13-year hiatus.

At 10 a.m., the 17-minute, science fiction-themed musical returns to the Tomorrowland Theater for limited engagement. It replaces "Honey I Shrunk the Audience," which closed Jan. 3.

"Captain EO" debuted at the height of Jackson’s fame in 1986, featuring director Francis Ford Coppola and  executive producer George Lucas. It cost a reported $30 million to make and ran as an attraction at the theme park until 1997.

Fans began lobbying for the return of the 3-D film soon after Jackson’s death last year, saying it would honor the King of Pop.

The Times' Brady McDonald, writing at the Daily Travel & Deal blog, says the return of Captain EO “presents a perplexing challenge to family-centric Disney: How to market a movie relic starring a controversial character without appearing to capitalize on his demise.”

The film stars Jackson as a captain leading a crew of aliens, robots and "fuzzball" on a spaceship on a mission to deliver a gift to a wicked alien witch played by Anjelica Huston.

A Disney spokeswoman told KTLA that there was no timeline for how long the show would run, but said it would stay for as long as it remained popular.

--Tony Barboza

Photo: "Captain EO" starring Michael Jackson thrilled Disneyland visitors from 1986 to 1997. The 3-D production reopens Tuesday at the theme park. Credit: Disneyland Resort

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